Estate planning, for most people, is both a personal and morbid subject. As such, it is not uncommon for parents to shy away from discussing their estate plans with their children or intended beneficiaries.
The decision to discuss your estate plan with your family is entirely up to you. That said, there are a number of reasons why you might want to have this discussion. For instance, clarifying how you have distributed your estate to your children can go a long way in preventing potential will disputes.
You do not have to talk about your will to anyone
To be clear, no law requires you to discuss your estate plan with anyone. So what should you discuss when talking to your heirs about your estate plan?
Certainly, your goals and hopes for the future ought to form the basis for this conversation. Additionally, your conversation should include the existence as well as the location of your estate planning documents. The contact information for those mentioned in your estate planning documents like witnesses as well as trustees is equally important.
That said, it is important to keep in mind that besides the will, a basic estate plan also includes other documents like a trust as well as healthcare and durable power of attorneys. Estate planning tools like powers of attorney may come into use before your demise.
For instance, if you have a degenerative condition like dementia, your durable power of attorney may need to step in and make financial decisions on your behalf.
Transparency is crucial
When each beneficiary knows what is in the will for them, they will be better prepared to handle any emotional and legal issues that may arise. This may prevent inheritance conflicts that may arise upon your death.
A conversation around death and wealth is never easy. Unfortunately, they are inevitable. Discussing your hopes with your loved ones can help prevent costly estate plan disputes when you are no longer around to clarify your desires.